Oyetola v Adeleke: PDP rejects appeal tribunal member

The National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party has rejected the inclusion of Justice Joseph Oyewole as a member of the Osun State Governorship Election Appeal Tribunal.

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday said the party believed Oyewole had strong connections with the All Progressives Congress.

He said the PDP had already petitioned the President of the Court, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, objecting to the inclusion of Oyewole in the appeal panel based on the presumed likelihood of him being biased against Senator Ademola Adeleke, who was declared the winner of the 2018 Osun State governorship poll.

The Elections Petitions Tribunal had nullified Adegboyega Oyetola’s election as the governor of the state, declaring Adeleke the winner of the polls.

But Oyetola of the APC rejected the judgment and approached the appeal tribunal to overrule the Election Petitions tribunal.

Ologbondiyan said, “Our grounds of objection against Justice Oyewole’s membership of the appeal panel are as follows: Oyewole is an indigene of Osun State and he had served as a High Court judge of Lagos State when the APC National Leader Bola Tinubu was the governor of the state.

“When the seat of the Chief Judge of Osun State became vacant, some years back, upon the retirement of Justice G.O. Ojo, Tinubu insisted on having his anointed candidate, Oyewole, in the judiciary of Osun State at all costs.

“It will be recalled that it took the courageous intervention of the then Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Murktar, to prevail that the most senior judge of Osun State judiciary should be so appointed.”

He alleged that when a seat became vacant at the Court of Appeal, Oyewole’s name was pushed forward by Tinubu.

Ologbondiyan said Oyewole should not be a member of the appeal panel for a governorship election dispute between the PDP and the APC.

According to him, given his alleged connections with the APC, the PDP is not comfortable with Oyewole being a member of the panel.

Ologbondiyan said, “As a party, we do not have confidence in Oyewole. So, the PDP vehemently objects to his inclusion as he is likely to be biased against our party and our candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke.

“The PDP therefore demands that the President of the Court of Appeal immediately replace Oyewole with another justice of the Court of Appeal, without any affiliation with Osun State, out of the over 90 eminent justices of the Court of Appeal.

“Our party and candidate holds that justice must not only be done, but also manifestly seen to be done in this matter. Indeed, an insistence on Oyewole’s inclusion in the appeal panel may confirm our fears that his name could have been deliberately included so that he can carry out a special assignment against our candidate and the party in the appeal.”

Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal has denied the PDP’s claim that Oyewole will be in the panel.

A statement by the court’s media officer, Mrs Saadatu Musa-Kachalla, said, “Justice Joseph Oyewole, Justice of the Court of Appeal, Enugu Division, an industrious son of the Osun State, is not a member of the Osun Governorship Election Appeal Tribunal set up by the President of the Court of Appeal, who had earlier said that the court must always put her integrity on the front burner.”

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